Summertime 1974

1974 Harley-Davidson 90

1974

Long, hot, endless summer days. Where the sky was blue with big white clouds. All I knew was my folks didn’t care what I did all summer but I had to be home by six. How I knew it was six p.m. is beyond me but supper was always ready and I’d better be there.

I was an impressionable kid and motorcycles were new to me. My brother got me interested with talk of them and a random magazine in the house to give me a visual. Trips to a couple of local dealerships and I was hooked. Picking up free brochures and reading them cover to cover studying everything from dry weights to tire sizes. As if some day I would be asked and a grand prize was in the balance. So the day my dad brought home an AMF Harley-Davidson 90 in the back of his ’67 Chevy truck was the day the earth stood still. Or at the very least the day seemed to be really long.

So the day my dad brought home an AMF Harley-Davidson 90 in the back of his ’67 Chevy truck was the day the earth stood still. Or at the very least the day seemed to be really long.

We had a pasture by the house I grew up in and we were able to spend many hours of every day riding aimlessly around and knocking down the tall grass to make trails. To this day I can still smell the yellow weeds that grew in that field. I would ride that 90 all day only stopping for gas and maybe a drink from the hose, and then back at it. After all I would be riding the Springfield Mile before long and I needed to practice. My stars and stripe helmet with a bubble shield and cheap gloves that turned my hands black as they sweat. Great times.

Simple. Pure. How can I get those days back? I read Dirtbike and Motocross Action. Cycle World and Cycle. Every word, over and over. never throwing an issue away. I practiced and pretended. Always wanting to ride and and explore. And I did. Long hours of riding with learning to fix what broke or wore out. I looked up to the local guys that rode the big bikes. If we heard a motorcycle coming down the road, we stopped what we were doing to watch as it went by. And of course I knew what the dry weight and tire size was!

Those were the days. Not much exposer on t.v. Wide World of Sports but who had a t.v. guide? Three channels and even so, I was too busy riding. On Any Sunday had a grip on me and I still love watching that film. It was the story of my life.

I still feel like that kid when I ride. It is a feeling of the the motorcycle as a part of me. It’s always been that way and always will. Looking back on the day my father brought home that 90 he had no idea what an effect it would have on me, or how it would change my life. My dad has never ridden a motorcycle but has always supported my habit and I love him for that.

Whether we are young or old when we start riding makes no difference. The days may not seem as long, but we can still go out and practice for the Springfield Mile.

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